LY W-L: 31-51
Key Additions: Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Shabazz Muhammad
Key Departures: Andrei Kirilenko, Luke Ridnour, Brandon Roy
Analysis: The Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t make the biggest of splashes this offseason. They didn’t need to, at least in their eyes. What the Timberwolves really need is a season with a clean bill of health. Specifically, Kevin Love.
Love hasn’t played more than 70 games in a single season since 2011, and has only done it twice in his five years during his time in the league — last season he only played 18. If the trio of Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikolic Pekovic (assuming he re-signs) can stay healthy for a significant — if not all — stretch next season, this team should be able to compete for a playoff spot.
But you can’t put the Timberwolves’ shortcomings all on their injuries. This team hasn’t been consistent as a whole, either. At home, the Wolves only managed 20 wins. If you can’t win at least 25 on your home court, then you’re definitely doing something wrong. Then again, when your team only wins 31 games that’s really asking a lot.
Minnesota was OK offensively last season, nothing spectacular. They shot 43 percent from the field and a putrid 30 percent from three-point range, averaged about 96 points per game. Interestingly enough, they managed to average 107 points per 100 possessions in their wins — only 96 points per 100 possessions in their losses. However, I believe that it’s safe to say that if the Wolves can stay healthy, those numbers will be different.
One of the biggest needs for the Wolves heading into next season remains to be reliable shooting (from the outside). Minnesota finished dead last in three-point shooting last season. I’m not sure if they really upgraded in that department with Corey Brewer, but Kevin Martin (career 38% from three) and Shabazz Muhammad (40% from three at UCLA) do have the potential to help.
Overall it’s going to come down to how healthy the Wolves are at seasons end. That will determine what kind of season they end up with.
(Projected) 2013-2014 W-L: 43-39
I’m assuming Minnesota will be fairly healthy next season and they will battle for the final spot in the Western Conference Playoffs. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love will have career years, as they continue to develop. This team’s future is promising. Next season is the first step — making the Playoffs.